Avis Budget Group rallied as much as 21% on Monday after it reached a deal with Alphabet’s Waymo to manage a fleet of self-driving cars, while Hertz also surged after a report that it’s working with Apple.
Avis announced a multi-year partnership that calls for the rental company to maintain and store autonomous vehicles for Waymo. Meanwhile, Apple is leasing a fleet of cars from Hertz in its own test of self-driving technology, according to Bloomberg. The report said Apple, whose CEO Tim Cook recently acknowledged the tech giant’s car project for the first time Opens a New Window., is working with Lexus SUVs supplied by Hertz’s Donlen fleet-management unit. The information was contained in documents from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
The company disclosed that it has created a new venture fund dedicated to investing in AI and machine learning companies. The initiative’s first public investment: lead investor in a $10.5 million funding round for Seattle startup Algorithmia, which has built a kind of app store for algorithms. The service aims to make it easier for any company to use machine learning.
The fund will be led by veteran executive Anna Patterson, vice president of engineering for AI. And the fund’s existence and lead role in Algorithmia’s latest round fit with what you might call Google’s shovel strategy for artificial intelligence: The company believes there are piles of money to be made by giving other companies the tools to strike gold using the technology.
According to CNBC, Amazon’s cloud computing division has been working on a translation service that developers could use to make their websites and apps available in multiple languages.
Recently, Amazon kicked off a competition in partnership with Heidelberg University in Germany to encourage the development of machine translation platforms that can respond and adapt to user feedback correcting mistakes in their translation results. The imminent launch comes almost two years after Amazon acquired a translation
start-up called Safaba. A co-founder of Safaba, Alon Lavie, leads Amazon’s machine translation research and development group in Pittsburgh.
Michael Bloomberg argues that as the age of automation affects more industries, those challenges are affecting more and more people. Attempting to slow the pace of technological change to preserve particular jobs is neither possible nor desirable, and there may be no better example than in the energy industry.
He says that finding more ways to reward and encourage work will be essential to coping with automation. “The Earned Income Tax Credit is one way to do that,” he says. It’s effectively a wage subsidy for low-income earners—and expanding it, or using other subsidies to encourage employment as we do with investment, may become increasingly necessary.
Frank Chen, Partner at Andreeson Horowitz, believes that in 2 years, no investor is going to be explicitly looking to fund AI-powered startups.
But the reason he believes that no investor will be funding startups calling themselves AI-powered startups (and no startup CEO will differentiate themselves as an
AI-first company like Google) is because investors will assume the startup is using the best available AI techniques to solve the problem they are solving. In other words, in a small handful of years, software without AI will be unthinkable.
Stadiums are getting “smart” — and none is more high tech than the Sacramento Kings Golden 1 Center, which opened this fall. Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé describes the venue as the ‘Tesla of sports stadiums.’
It’s got everything from roving security robots to an app that puts control in consumers hands. “It will guide you to your parking spot. It will tell you how to get to your seat. And just like that,” Ranadivé says, “the phone becomes your remote control. So now everything can be done through that remote. Whether it’s ordering food, connecting with friends, adjusting the temperature.” “Technology allows you to optimize — not only increase revenues but also optimize in terms of how you price your products. With variable pricing for the games, we get rid of inventory that might just sit there otherwise,” says Ranadivé.